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17*        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

into the school programme.  " To the Greeks," he says in a treatise
On the Usefulness of Greek, " we are indebted for everything.*'
In Latin he aimed mainly at a reform of the methods of instruction
by making grammar subordinate to the appreciation of the poets
and the moralists.    Judged by the standards established by
the best Italian schools, his success does not seem to have been
great.   Erasmus, who was a pupil at Deventer for a time, while
holding Hegius himself in high esteem, spoke afterwards of the
school as being still in the age of barbarism;  and it is not un-
likely that there was some ground for the criticism so far as his
own time was concerned.  But Erasmus only saw the beginning of
the changes which Hegius was introducing, and it is almost
certain that considerable improvements had been made before
his death.   In any case, the most valuable work done by him was
in the way of organization.    Here at least he was unrivalled.
To deal effectively with the great crowds of scholars who had
flocked to his school—there were over two thousand towards the
end of his career—he arranged the scholars in eight classes.
There is no direct account of the work of the different classes,
but it is believed that the organization of the school established
by the Brethren at LiŁge in 1496 (on which a detailed report was
written later by John Sturm, a former pupil, who himself became
a great school organizer) was modelled on that of Hegius in Deven-
ter.   Here also there were eight classes, each of which had a
specified programme of work: the rudiments of grammar in the
first year, an easy book of selections in the second, a simple prose
author and Latin prose in the third, historical writers and the
first stages of Greek in the fourth, more advanced Greek, logic
and rhetoric and original prose in the fifth, Greek literature
and composition and more advanced logic and rhetoric in the
sixth, Euclid and Roman Law, Aristotle and Plato in the seventh,
and finally theology and disputations in the eighth.   The whole
school was under the personal charge of the rector, who appor-
tioned the work to the several classes, and looked after the moral
and intellectual well-being of the scholars.   Under him was a
staff of teachers for all the classes.   The classes, being too large
for any teacher to manage single-handed, were grouped in decuries
or companies of ten, each of them under the charge of one of the
older pupils.   Such was the general character of the organization
ia the pioneer schools of the north.